There is nothing worse than being harassed by birds. They can fly anywhere, right? Why do they insist on perching (and crapping) above my car or my window sill? Is my neighbor’s busted dryer vent really the best place for a nest every year? Maybe if he actually read my blog he would just fix the vent instead of having to fight with the same birds every spring! I’m not talking about a few little wild song birds that flutter through the yard looking for worms and seeds, I’m talking about whole flocks that tear up the garden or make mountains of “guano” on the balcony. Which brings us to the question: What is the best way to get rid of birds? Millions of dollars and thousands of hours of research each year go into winning this world-wide battle. Keep reading to see the newest innovations out there (and whether or not they actually work).
There are four effective methods to keep birds away from your property: using deterrents, spraying chemical repellents, creating physical barriers, and trapping. Deterrents frighten birds away using visual repellents and noisemakers. This includes electronic devices like a motion-activated sprinkler, predator decoys, and aluminum foil tapes. Chemical repellents contain methyl anthranilate, anthraquinone, methiocarb, which repel birds by causing irritation or affecting their nervous system. You can create physical barriers using spikes and netting depending on this size of your foe. And finally, you can catch unwanted birds in live traps and then release them far from your property. There is also an option of lethal traps, but they are illegal to use on some bird species (We will go over the methods – you have to check locally if they are allowed and for what species).
1. Bird-X STS-10-R Stainless Steel Bird Spikes
Check the current price
2. Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler
Check the current price
3. Bird Blinder Scarecrow Fake Owl Decoy
Check the current price
4. Bird B Gone Super Sonic Bird Deterrent
Check the current price
5. Bird-X Balcony Gard Ultrasonic Bird Repeller
Check the current price
6. Bird B Gone RFLT-1 Reflect-a-Bird Deterrent
Check the current price
Find even more effective bird control products below in TOP-17 Best Bird Deterrents.
Birds are not often considered parasites or pests. In many cases, people welcome them fluttering about in the bushes. But once they become freeloaders and demand food, damage crops and contaminate accommodation and outbuildings – then they become pests and the battle continues. Since ancient times people have invented ways of scaring away the birds such as setting up scarecrows and hanging noisy objects etc. The killing of most species is illegal and merely inhumane. That is why we explain how to keep birds away. Upon reading it, you will find out which methods of scaring birds are approved by the scientists, which products are absolutely ineffective and why a versatile deterrent does not exist. In the end, we will present the top 17 bird deterrents for various situations, weather conditions and areas.
In order to make your bird control strategy effective, you should create a plan of action. These are the steps you should include in this plan:
To make things right, read a detailed guide on how to keep birds away based on scientists’ suggestions. We have analyzed which solutions can really frighten birds and prepared a review of TOP 17 best deterrents which are commercially available.
|Method or Product||When, Where and How Best Used||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Spikes||On house eaves and city fences.||Don’t let the pests land.||They violate general aesthetics and are useless against smaller species.|
|Nets||To protect fruit trees, planting, ventilation etc.||Are effective against large and medium birds.||May be useless against smaller species.|
|Noise reflective devices: tape, rods, discs||Are hung wherever birds are undesired.||Reflected light and noise scare the birds away.||Birds get used to them after some time. The best results are achieved only when it is windy and sunny.|
|Sound repellers||Are installed in places that require protection.||They imitate the birds’ natural threat, i.e. predatory cries. |
Large coverage area.
Can be set to deter various species.
|Must be used along with other control methods.|
|Ultrasound repellers||Are installed outside, on balconies and terraces.||Can deter various pests.|
|Motion-activated water sprinklers||Are installed on lawn.||Physical deterring and additional plant watering.||Requires water supply and recharging.|
|Scarecrows||Are installed on the lot or porch.||Keep the birds away with their appearance and noise.||Birds get used to them after some time.|
|Chemical gels and sprays||Windowsills, lawns and fruit trees are treated with them.||A reflex makes the birds avoid treated areas.||Some compounds are toxic and require proper application according to the instructions.|
|Destroying the nests||The nests are destroyed with a hooked stick.||The birds don’t produce offspring.||The effect is temporary as a new nest will soon be made.|
Each species is distinguished by its behavior and unique activity. That is why combinations of elimination methods vary depending on both building type and species. It is also essential to be able to switch between several treatments quickly as birds tend to get used with most of them with time.
As Holly K. Ober from the University of Florida explains, the trick to effectively using deterrents is to (1) begin using deterrents as soon as possible after the problem starts (or even before, if the problem can be anticipated) so animals do not develop a habit of using your house or yard as a resource, (2) switch hazing tactics regularly so animals do not become used to a deterrent that is meant to scare them, and (3) use tactics that appeal to more than one sensory modality so animals are bothered in several ways and remain cautious and confused. To get started right away, use our comparison chart to pick a few affordable methods – remember it is best to start early and have a variety of tactics.
Follow a set of simple rules when housekeeping or maintaining retail space to avoid any possible interest from birds. It is recommended to use bird-protected storage in grain barns and special feeders and drinkers on livestock farms. Also remember to keep the place clean.
At businesses, warehouses and retail locations hang plastic strip barriers to fully cover the entrance to spaces and allow people carrying heavy bags or trolleys to move around. Make sure you appropriately block ventilation and other possible entrances to the room, isolate warehouse truss structures and repair windows.
If exclusion is not possible or economically feasible, try reducing the attractiveness of the roosting (places where birds sit) and nesting sites. These non-lethal methods are safe for people, livestock, and non-target wildlife, but they are often time-consuming to install and expensive, as the experts from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences explain..
To counter birds’ arrival or nesting, use physical barriers such as spikes on ledges, nets, protecting horticultural crops from eating, changing the angle of slope of the eaves and windowsills. Thorns and nets will help fight pigeons and larger birds, but small species will be able to settle between spikes or climb through the netting.
To scare away the most types of birds, the scientists suggest interchanging deterring methods or in combination. The simplest option is to use dummies and scarecrows resembling predatory birds or even eyes. The scientists also approve of using reflective devices: tapes, rods and discs. This is one of the most common methods but it still has a few drawbacks: pests get used to them quickly. They are also quite pointless in calm and gloomy weather when reflective devices don’t rock or make noise. These should definitely be a part of your plan because they are affordable and easy to install.
Electronic repellents are also available. Some of them are acoustic devices and impact hearing. Others are called motion activated water sprinklers and they sprinkle a trespasser with a jet of water. While the aquatic method does not cause any controversy and is a versatile deterrent for many animals, the ultrasonic repeller’s impact is not so clear. Although these repellers receive some positive feedback, a negative comment prevails. The scientists also doubt their standalone effectiveness. The experts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for instance, claim that “By themselves, acoustic devices are ineffective or effective only for a short time at dispersing birds. To be useful, acoustic devices must be combined with other control techniques in an integrated management program. The most effective use of acoustic signals is when they are reinforced with activities that produce death or a painful experience to some members of the population.”
Among all of the sonic avian repellent devices, scientists distinguish programmable non-ultrasonic sonic deterrents as the most promising. They have pre-recorded calls of predatory birds that keep away various birds from treated areas. Such devices can even be set to deter specific species, such as pigeons, sparrows and others.
Chemical compounds can be used not only to deter a bird but also to confuse it. For this, substances containing tannins that prevent fast digestion, viscous and sticky compounds that complicate food intake or masking substances that make fruits or grains imperceptible are used. Michael L. Avery from University of Nebraska classifies the compounds in two categories according to the impact they have on birds’ bodies: Primary repellents are painful or irritating upon contact and the bird responds reflexively without needing to acquire an avoidance response.
Extensive research into the nature and characteristics of dozens of primary repellents lead Clark to the conclusion that chemesthesis (pain or irritation) is responsible for avoidance responses produced by these compounds. Many of these compounds have ecological significance in interactions between birds and their natural food items, and one primary repellent compound, methyl anthranilate, is registered as an avian feeding deterrent. Many primary repellents are toxic, but because the compounds are aversive, birds do not ingest enough to cause them harm. Secondary repellents are not aversive immediately but produce illness or discomfort sometime after ingestion.
The use of a primary or secondary repellent is determined by a bird’s lifestyle. If it has settled nearby, a secondary repellent is more preferable. A primary repellent will do little against nomadic species.
One such deterrent, methyl anthranilate (MA), is used in food production and is safe for humans. It irritates the nervous system causing a bird to lose its appetite. The substance is used to protect berry crops and control the behavior of geese – one of the most difficult of wild birds to deter. To protect seeds and turf, Anthraquinone, a repellent of secondary action, which causes digestive discomfort, is sometimes used. An individual develops a subsequent dislike for any food resembling a processed one.
Methiocarb, which was initially devised for use against insects is yet another secondary repellent. The compound is not lethal for birds and only causes vomiting and temporary paralysis. Nevertheless, the substance is toxic and requires to be taken in proper dosage so as not to kill the birds.
It is allowed to control breeding of some not endangered species, primarily sparrows, pigeons and starlings. Margaret C. Brittingham, Professor of Wildlife Resources of Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, recommends crafting a long hooked stick to destroy nests regularly. A more laborious and delicate way is to reach the nest and pierce the eggs with a pin. The birds will brood them anyway and won’t start building a new nest and laying new eggs.
Bird traps are designed in such a way that they will not harm the victims that could be later released.
Few species are not protected regionally, federally or internationally. They are regular pigeons, house sparrows and starlings. They can be hunted and shot anywhere where shooting is generally permitted. It is important to note that when using lethal methods, it is crucial to monitor their impact on non-targeted and protected species and limit such possible impact to a minimum.
As promised, we have covered all types of deterrents mentioned above. Pick one that meets your needs and location so that the question of how to scare away birds never arises again.
Installing spikes is the easiest way to deter a bird from house cornices and fences. Decent polycarbonate and steel spikes by Bird-X are available. Both products are ten feet long. Not only the materials they’re made of, differ but also their functions.
Plastic spikes are branched and are fit for scaring away not only pigeons and crows but also smaller species, such as sparrows. They can be attached to the surface with glue that comes in a package.
Plastic Polycarbonate Spikes: Check the current price
Steel spikes don’t have branches and thus can only be used to counter large species, such as pigeons and crows. They have a flexible base that allows attaching the spikes to uneven surfaces. Both products have earned high product ratings and are used by airports and in parking garages across the whole planet! A benefit to using the metal ones is that they can be painted with Metal-specific spray paint to match your house.
Stainless Steel pikes: Check the current price
Unlike all other devices covered in this review, this repels animals with water. If anyone finds themselves within 40 feet from the detector with 120º angle of view, they will be attacked with a powerful water jet. Make sure the detector is facing the right direction in advance for better results. The device is battery-powered and has water-saving settings. In general, the users are satisfied with its performance. The StopPestInfo Editorial Staff suggests that the effectiveness is due, in part, to the startling sound and sight of the spraying water – it doesn’t even need to come in contact with the animal! This is the ideal method to keep bird poop out of your pool.
Orbit sprinkler: Check the current price
Birds are afraid of predators, so imitating a carnivorous bird with setting an appropriate scarecrow or playing back the cry of a predator is quite popular. If you’re hesitating in how to keep birds off your porch or plant bed, the first thing you should try is setting up such a fake predator.
A life-sized owl statue by Bird Blinder, Scarecrow Fake Owl Decoy. You can fill it with sand or place it on top of a rod or a pole for stability. This popular product is supposed to scare off both birds and rodents and judging by the consumer comments, it fulfills the task successfully. Sometimes a simple solution that preys on a pests natural instincts is the best! The StopPestInfo Team suggests that while you are waiting to get yours in the mail, take a few minutes to pick out several locations that you can move it through out the seasons to increase its long term effectiveness.
Fake Owl: Check the current price
Use the Bird B Gone Hawk Decoy as an alternative. It acts in the same way, but with inconsistent consumer comments.
Fake Hawk: Check the current price
The manufacturer calls this gel liquid spikes as it should be applied on cornices and windowsills. It also recommends using it on any protrusions, signs, railings, roofs and other places where pests fly. Any surfaces treated with this gel become sticky and nasty to touch. This property is supposed to deter many species including pigeons, swallows, ducks, geese, seagulls, sparrows, starlings, woodpeckers, crows & blackbirds, grackles etc.
Gel’s properties are well preserved outside and it is completely transparent. It is non-toxic, causes no harm to buildings and pets and can be rinsed off if necessary. A pack of three tubes will be enough to make a 30-feet long strip.
Bird-X gel (3-pack): Check the current price
As mentioned above, not all electronic repellers are equally effective against birds. Water sprinklers will work given that their action radius is sufficient. The scientists recommend using acoustic repellers along with other deterrents. There are many popular electronic bird repellers which we will describe to you below. Remember that this method could be an invaluable tool in your multi-pronged approach.
This sound deterrent has pre-recorded cries of wild predatory birds. Bird B Gone has a general scaring off mode and a range of special ones designated for various species. The manufacturer assures that it can be set to repel 22 species: pigeons, crows, starlings, seagulls, woodpeckers etc. The repeller is powered through an outlet and its speaker is powerful enough to cover an acre. Additional speakers (sold separately) will expand its coverage to five acres. Day and night modes are available.
This repeller has received mixed feedback. Some have finally found salvation in this device while others believe that it does not really affect birds at all. There have been occasional claims that the unit is either too loud or so quiet that you can barely hear it. It is the observation of the StopPestInfo Staff that some users purchased the wrong model for their specific issue… for instance there is a special model just for woodpeckers – choose wisely!
Sonic Deterrent: Check the current price
According to the manufacturer, this ultrasonic repeller covers up to 900 square feet and can be used on the balcony, terrace and porch. It is safe for kids and pets, but is it effective? Buyers are split in their opinions product expressing quite a few negative experiences. As discussed above in the scientific review of methods, Pigeons are not easily scared off by this type of ultrasonic device. Remember to consider the species of bird before purchasing. Please do not place this device near a child’s room as young children can sometimes hear the noise!
Bird-X: Check the current price
This repellent is suitable for large areas. It has three ultrasonic frequency settings and an additional repelling option, namely, a flashing LED light. The sensor detects motion 30 feet away. This all-weather device can be kept outdoors. The manufacturers note that it can be used against birds and also to control pest mammals, such as chipmunks. This popular product is generally highly rated across the internet but, as discussed above, scientists doubt the effectiveness on some birds.
Hoont: Check the current price
In this case, the task of scaring has been simplified to a maximum. Low price and low maintenance! Even the kids will enjoy tossing them around the yard inadvertently scaring off birds. Most animals, including birds, perceive visual information by association. That is why only typical features, such as an image of eye can be used to scare them off. This is the case of a Scare Eye Balloon Bird Repellent. This sturdy “beach ball” keeps the birds away with the help of its bright colors as well. Its swaying in the wind will cause discomfort and desire to fly away.
Three inflatable balloons with an eye ornament surrounding them are supplied. A balloon can either be hung or thrown in the pool water to protect you against waterfowl. More than half of the customers were satisfied with this product. To prevent a short period of effectiveness against pigeons, sparrows and others, move the location frequently to keep them from getting used to it and no longer scared off. However, this is a common feature of all scarecrows. The scientists say little of these trendy ways of keeping the birds away, but you should give them a chance as they are very affordable and a fun way to enact your multi-pronged approach against these pesky poopers.
Scare Eye Balloon Bird Repellent: Check the current price
This is one the most popular ways of keeping birds away. My city even uses them on power lines to alert eagles away! Light reflection devices have a dual action: they blind their victims with reflected light and additionally scare them off with noise. You won’t find better protection for windows, garden and trees on a sunny and windy day.
Bird Blinder Repellent Scare Rods is a set of five silvery rods made of shiny plastic. In general, the comments and our own personal experience are positive. Even if the birds do not disappear completely, their population is reduced drastically. If your target species is the infamous Pigeon, well, these might not work for long because of how adaptable they are.
Scare Rods (5-pack): Check the current price
Bird Repellent Disks are made of stainless steel. They come in a set of eight shiny double disks that not only blind with their light but also make much more noise than plastic. The manufacturer claims that these disks will be effective against woodpeckers, pigeons, sparrows, geese, ducks and rooks. Try these away from the house due to the noise – around the garden or the barn would be a perfect area.
Scare Discs (8-pack): Check the current price
A light-reflective holographic tape looks aggressive in birds’ eyes and, according to the manufacturer, is able to repel any pests. A 350 feet long roll and will last a long time. The tape is two-sided and can be attached anywhere. The product is simple to use, effective and affordable and thus popular with users and the SPI Research team. This product can be used closer to the house because it is fairly quiet.
By Original Stationery
Last update on 2023-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Scare Tape: Check the current price
Bird-X Net: Check the current price
This repellent impacts not only touch, but also taste and smell. Its active ingredients are putrescent whole egg solids, cloves and garlic oil. Once in a pest’s mouth, these active substances cause light irritation of mucous membranes. As a result, an animal would like to flee such a potentially dangerous place. The spray is aimed at deterring birds and mammals.
Inconsistent feedback includes many negative comments noting that animals tend to return within a few days. Is this really surprising if the product was used alone? The SPI Research team would like to remind you that a single tactic will not be as effective as multiple tactics combined. Try using it in tandem with predator eyes or reflectors and rate the effectiveness for yourself.
Last update on 2023-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Repellent: Check the current price
This methyl anthranilate-based ready-to-spray concentrate. This repelling substance is approved by scientists as a means of geese control to protect berries. It causes the birds to lose appetite by affecting their nervous system and is safe for humans! The product is also effective not only against geese but other waterfowls and large terrestrial species, such as ducks and turkeys – perfect for the hobby farm or avid gardener.
The spray is economical as a quart of it will cover 4000 square feet. The manufacturer recommends treating large areas with it. It is safe for use even on fruit and berry trees and shrubs. The hose attachment means that you will need to be near a pressurized water source. It is possible, however, to dilute into a pump sprayer.
Liquid Fence (1-quart): Check the current price
Also read: How To Get Rid Of Geese.
A gallon of this yet-another methyl anthranilate-based spray. The product is aimed at a variety of waterfowl and other birds which damage large fruit planting, lawns or vegetable harvests. Depending on recommendations for use in various situations (check the manual), this liquid is to be dissolved in various amounts of water.
So far, the product is not very popular and its rating is not very high. Certain users describe their positive experience being able to save blue berries from a flock attack. The price is high but is justified as long as it is effective! In any case, a concentrate is always more cost-saving than ready-to-use products in the long run. If your prize winning berries are under attack this could be your blue ribbon deterrent.
Bird-X: Check the current price
Dwayne Elmore, Professor, Oklahoma State University
Dwayne Elmore is a Professor at the Faculty of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University. He is a member of Society for Range Management, Association for Fire Ecology, and the Wildlife Society. Dr. Elmore has multiple scientific publications on the impact of livestock infrastructure as well as oil and gas on wildlife.
“We have lots of species of a woodpecker at Oklahoma but the northern flicker is the one that generally causes the structure damage. If it is confined to the wood eaves of a home, it is a fairly easy fix. But if you have a solid wood siding home, it is a little more problematic. Unfortunately, most strategies (to deter woodpeckers) are not effective but we generally recommend trying them first and see if it gives you some resolution. We went through lots of streamers and glass mirrors that spin in the wind, different things to try to repel the woodpeckers from being on the home. And those generally are not very effective. Unfortunately, there are no good repellents such as a chemical that really works for birds. In a small space, exclusion netting is a great solution. When you get to a whole structure that is wood, it is really impractical to wrap the whole house in netting. However, on this particular house, there was only one wall and only the upper portion of that wall that was seeing woodpecker damage. So it was still an expensive fix, but it was feasible.”
Scaring tactics in urban and rural areas vary according to specific safety rules, scale of the issue and the property to be protected. As a rule, the methods are also determined by the birds’ lifestyle, variety and accessibility of its fodder base.
In large cities most often you will encounter sparrows, pigeons and crows, and seagulls in coastal zones. Crows, seagulls and pigeons pick up trash and scatter it. Sparrows cause much less harm, but they can penetrate warehouses and shops and damage groceries and block vent pipes with nests. All of the mentioned species litter on windowsills, under cornice, trees and various buildings. They carry diseases in third-world countries.
Limited-effect methods, such as applying a gel or using a motion-activated water sprinkler of a small radius or spikes, are convenient for urban areas.
Outside the cities, the range of control methods expands. Fruit trees and large fields can be sprayed with repellents. More powerful motion-activated water sprinklers and scarecrows are installed near houses, metal or plastic reflective tapes are hung.
You can also scare the birds off on your own without investing a fortune in expensive treatments. Below, we list the five most cut-rate ways of getting rid of these unwanted guests. All you need to do is check your den or garage for fabric and necessary supplies.
If you would like to keep birds away from your house, cover all the indoor ventilation holes with a grid, hang thick fabric or net in apertures and seal the attic entrance.
Since ancient times, people have installed scarecrows resembling not only predatory birds but also hand-made people statues on their lots. Wooden beams, buckers and extra pieces of fabric can be used for this purpose. Unfortunately, such scarecrows won’t serve you long. Birds living nearby will soon get used to it and will no longer be kept away by it.
To enhance the deterring effect, hang some thundering metal objects on the scarecrow or make a weather vane that will jangle in the wind.
Light-reflecting tape and similar products can become another supplement. Reflected light will blind any flyers and make deterring, intimidating rustling sounds. Many craftsmen use regular foil for this purpose.
Nests are fun to watch over unless the birds can cause damage to your household. In this case, you’d better make sure they don’t produce offspring nearby. To destroy a nest, attach a hook to a long stick.